22 March 2014

Solar Panels

March 2014 Kusadasi

Solar Panels

We are here in the marina in Kusadasi Marina and decided to install solar panels when we learned that the marina was going to start charging 40 euro cents for one kilowatt of electricity. (BTW, that works out to be about 6 times MORE than what a person ashore in their apartment is paying.) We thought that the marina was ripping us off, and as it turned out, so did many boaters who wintered over here, and at Netsel’s Marina in Marmaris. Both marinas are owned by SETUR, and SETUR has about 10 marinas all around Turkey. All but one is now charging what most of us consider to be an outrageous amount for electricity, so many are getting panels, and many more, even long term boaters (10+ years) are looking for someplace new to moor next winter.

Most of us are upset by the failure of the company to talk to us straight, to explain why they are charging in euros and not the local currency (but the municipality bills them monthly in local currency!!) and to justify the 6+ times cost. Kusadasi held a manager’s meeting with those of us wintering over in January, 2014 and FAIL to mention that come February 1, we would have to pay for electricity and water. (BTW, water is 5 euros per 1000 liters, which is about 7+ times more than what the marina pays for water. Greedy people are they not???)

A formal letter hand delivered to the marina requesting explanations has yet to be answered, and some people believe that the company never will answer it, as whatever their excuse (oops, sorry, reasons ….???) they offer we will see right thru it

So too make a longish story shorter, due to the marina / company’s ineptitude, inability to plan, unreasonable expectations about how quick the changeover would take, etc etc, it took them to March 17 to get their ducks in a row ENOUGH to start charging. In the meantime, many of us pressures the marina to lower their price toward something more realistic and they did, ultimately, by 10% (10% ARE U KIDDING??????) 

So, the plan to install solar panels, which we half heartily started last November was now in high gear.

So, first, have to think how many watts I need. Since this project was to help offset shore power costs, and we run electric heaters in the winter, it turned out that to be 100% shore power independent was just not practical. So, then I turned to space available, and I did have room on top of the pilot house to install some number.

Researching panel availability in country, attending the Istanbul Boat Show, asking questions from venders there and getting answers that were so confusing that I could not make heads or tails from them, I determine that 250-300 watt panels would be what I want. With the panels’ dimensions, I come to learn I can fit 4 of the 300 watt panels or 6 of the 250 watt panels in the space available and not destroy the lines that George Buehler has so ADAMANTLY defended when trying to design LeeZe and meeting my requests/ demands…

So, 6 it is. I find them on the net and go get the data sheets from the merchants who are selling them. (That was not easy. In one case, it took a call to China to get a data sheet!!)  It was NOT apparent to me that I was comparing apples with oranges, as some were poly crystal and some were mono. Some further research and discussion with some other boaters made me see that mono crystal panels are what I wanted. OK! (Turns out all the 300 watt panels I could find were poly, though one distributer in Izmir told me he could get 300 watt mono panels from China “in or about 6-8 weeks.” Nope…. Not going to fall down that rabbit hole again!! Boat spares that I ordered from an Istanbul in December that he said would be here in January are STILL not here……)

Contract with a local marina repair shop to install a DC cable from the DC power panels in the engine room up to the top of the pilot house. (Should have had this cable run by the yard 3 years ago but forgot to ask…. dumb dumb dumb.) I ask them based of the size of the panels how big of a cable I need and they come back with a recommendation of about 2 AWG or 33 square mm. Did NOT sound right so off to the tables I go, and determine for a marginal 3% voltage drop, I would need at least a 0 AWG cable (53 square mm). Ask around and find that locally available power cable suitable for the marine environment is either 37 or 55 or 95 square mm. I told them to use 95 square mm and they first are aghast, and then rolling on the floor laughing. I knew from THAT reaction that 95 square mm WAS the correct size. They really did try to talk me into something smaller, but I healed firm, and they agreed. BTW, 95 square mm is between 000 and 0000 AWG.

They give to me an estimate (which I knew was way too low because they have to drill thru three 6mm steel bulkheads, none of them easy to get at, seal the holes, and then perform whatever additional work that needs to be done after I pressure test the engine room to  ~3 psig to comply with my Lloyds certificate of construction. (For completely sake, Lloyds pressure tested the engine room for tightness at 0.3 bar (new construction) but my “rulebook” says I only need to test to  0.2 bar after any maintenance that breeches the engine room bulkhead, and that the allowed pressure drop in 15 minutes has to be less than 0.1 bar for the room to pass. Since I had not opened the engine room maintenance hatch in the floor of salon, that seal was still intact, and a visual inspection showed that it appeared to be good. The box that allows the passage of the transmission controls is sealed itself from the engine room and those seals were also good. Shore power penetration cables were also fine (can see quite easily in the lazarette) and to install this cable, I had to pull of the refrigerator so inspection of the engine exhaust pipe seals was easy to accomplish.))

So, after the cable was run and the cable penetrations sealed, and sending Zehra off to someplace or another for a few hours, I pressurized the engine room with a borrowed industrial vacuum cleaner after first taking a suction on the engine room to a slight, very slight, negative vacuum. (The guys that pressure tested the room in the yard say if you bring the room under a small vacuum, and run around to all potential air paths, you should hear a noise which will help you identify which one to fix,) So, after a hour of blowing, the engine room was at .21 bar (picture with newspaper), closed the bulkhead valve. removed the vacuum (it was quite hot!!) and installed a second seal on the pipe. Waited 15 minutes. Took another picture (0.18 bar) and declared victory. Bled off the air while SLOWLY drinking a cup of coffee.

Ok, that is done. Now on to the panels. Order them and when they get here, each box is broken, panels are loose, etc etc. Take pictures, refuse shipment, call the merchant, share with him the pictures, and he says send them back and will ship new. Two days later, new panels arrive, packed BRILLIANTLY, but they are poly, not mono. Call the merchant, he is now pissed off (in his defense, he is in Bursa, and the shipper is in Istanbul)) and tells me to refuse.

Three days later, 6 new mono panels are delivered, packed BRILLIANTLY, and that part of the process is done. Bring back the same company and ask their thoughts about how to install. The co-owners look at the panels, take measurements, go topside, and do NOT come down for an hour. I have seem this before in other jobs, usually not so long, and what is taking so long is their thinking how best to install. Now, I have my idea on how best, but as it turns out, my idea was CRAP compared to theirs. 

Their proposal: Take 4 long pieces of 5 mm angle iron painted, attach them with screws to the portion of the Pilothouse where there is an overhang (no holes where water can drip into the Pilothouse) put small legs on each, mount the panels to the angle iron and lay them flat running fore and aft lengthwise on the Pilothouse overhead deck. There would be a walk way in the middle so I still do my maintenance, the legs would be tall enough to keep the heat from the panels off the Pilothouse  and removal of a panel would be tedious, but not overly complicated.

My CRAPPY idea was nowhere near as elegant as theirs, so after agreeing on a price, they head off. It was Tuesday morning and over a period of days, installation was completed. Problems: Most revolved around the paint on the angle iron refused to dry, though there was a smallish problem connecting the cables to the DC distribution box. You see, there was 26 VDC live in the boxes at one place. This was after killing shore power, turning off the battery chargers, removing both the positive and negative battery cables from the house battery bank, removing the same cables from the starter battery bank, killing the inverters and opening every main DC circuit breaker and switch I could find. BUT still there was this pesky 26 VDC, and in the end, they worked around it because the boat was dead dead electrically. (And no dear readers, I do NOT have a battery at the bow thruster, and even if I did, that switch was open also!) So, I have a great mystery to solve. Power to the boat was off for over 3+ hours and the voltage measurement remained steady every time I checked. I am searching my brain for a possible source, and I am drawing a HUGE BLANK!!!

So, it was 1630 on Friday that the panels were online and I saw no output. The sun was still up but nada… Went to bed that night thinking of possible problems and solutions. (Zehra says I worry way to much…)

Saturday, up and at 0830, panels are not producing, or so it seemed. So, the first thing I do is turn off the battery chargers and normally, I see a voltage drop. Nope, not this time, Steady…. A ray of hope appears. At 0930, battery voltage is up to 27+ (equalizing voltage is 30.62 for this bank) and by noon, it is approaching 30. We do laundry and wash dishes with the dishwasher and with the battery chargers still off, we will see how well we do thru the night.

So for those who are interested here are two pictures:

From the dock or the sea, the panels are not visible so that is a good thing. (George! Think of you babe!! )

There is less than a 1 VDC voltage drop from the farthest panel to the DC distribution boxes in the engine room. The panels at no load put out 36 VDC but a 2 amps, per the curves, the voltage is below 30 VDC. I currently am not using a regulator (a 70 amp solar panel regulator rated for the marine environment, installed in the engine room is $$$$$)  but there is a switch in the engine room to isolate the panels from the rest of the boat, and in that whitish box below the starboard side panels, each panel is attached to the buss bar with its own 15 amp fuse. 

It what I think is true, I may have to watch overcharging the batteries in the summer when the days are long, but I can live with that. In the winter, I do not think I need to be quite so worried. I will need shore power in the winter for some portion of every day, more so when the days are rainy or cloudy. I do know that I will still have to perform equalizing battery charges at least monthly, and periodic boost charges if the days are not sunny, More to follow as I learn.


Kusadasi, Turkey

26 January 2014

Camel Wrestling Selcuk 19 Jan 2014

A bunch of us went to this festival on 19 Jan 2014. It isa traditional festival where male camel wrestle their opponents  off their feet. The animals do not appear to ever be hurt, and for the winner, he gets the use of a female camel. The owner seems to get a rug and a gold coin. This is the 32nd annual event, and it occurs in a stadium built in pre-Roman times. 
The announcement

Waiting to get in 


On the ground for a pack adjustment,

Then back up on his feet

They bite, therefore, the mask

These boys came prepared. Bbq, food, drink, table and chairs, and even a table cloth!

Some of us from the Marina

Ataturk, the Father of Turkey, watches over the crowd

The crowd is mostly men with a smothering of women

The ruins of the stadium. Much has not changed here since the last time I came to this festival in the mid-1990s

There is a parade before the event

Here venders are selling camel+beef sausages. Guess we now know what happens to the losers!

The area in front of the ruins and behind the sausage sellers seems to be reserved for the "big boys!"

The crowd. Note the smoke from the numerous BBQs.

Camels on parade

65 camels are entered



Up close with a biggie!

Need to take a sand bath before entering the area during the parade

And the other side

needs a little more cleaning to become purdy!

(By the way, these pictures do not do justice to the way they smell!!!!)

A big boy waiting his turn. Note, no mask! Must not be a biter!

Camel and beef (mixed together) sausage for sale. 

Waiting for his turn.

The female also waits!

Colorful, no?

The arena 

More of it

Well, here the camels are done and the men try to pull them apart. 

Some wrestling

Some more

and, some more

Here, Zehra is checking out a camel

while the camel checks her out!

A staring contest.... I loose. The smell just is too much!

Fooling around

Must get that cover shot for the 2015 Mr Camel calendar!

21 September 2013

LeeZe Underway for Parts West of Marmaris 5 - 20 Sept 2013

5 Sept. So before I discuss our move from Bitez today, I trust many of you remember the Disney song "It's A Small World."  I ask that you hum a few bars and then continue reading. (I apologize in advanceif you somehow cannot get that song out of your head for the next few days ☺.)

At about 0945 yesterday, I get a phone call from a friend, Recep, from Vienna telling me he read my latest blog and wanted to pass on a phone # of a person we both use to work with, Paul. Some years ago, I wrote a letter to Paul at the only address I had and it took a year to learn that he no longer lived there. So, I called. We last spoke in June 1996, and here we were, talking again what,  some 17 years later??? We were both quite happy to have finally reconnected. Paul, Recep and I worked together in Ankara from 1993-96. Somehow, we lost touch and now, 17 years later, here we are speaking again. And, where does Paul now live? About 500 meters from where we are currently anchored. It is a small world. And it became even smaller when the 4 of us, (Paul and Elaine, Zehra and me) sat down at a restaurant to catch up on 17 years of news. And to think that had I not posted the blog early, Recep would not have read it, remembered that Paul was in the same town, and hooked us up together. Thank you Recep!

Today, we moved on to Gumusluk, because the weather broke, the wind died down somewhat, and per the forecast, the seas were not to be too bad.

It is a three hour run to Gumusluk and when we get there, the place is crowded as any anchorage we have been to for far, and it takes a few minutes to find a place to drop the hook. (Zehra was here yesterday by car and told me that it was the place was empty. But not today.) We did try to get to the pier but the place is too small to fit so we move back to the anchorage.

The day is calm and fair, and so, the ladies relax

but toward dusk, a chill sets in and it appears that shorts and t-shirts will no longer be enough.

Ashore we found the restaurants displaying the appetizers, fish and desserts they have available.


More Fish


There is also a local covered bazaar where local artists can come and make /sell their latest creations.

And finally, a restaurant modified some fishing baskets to light up their waterfront dining area.

While others have converted gourds into colorful lamps

We plan to be here a few days because after tomorrow, the winds pick up again.

11 Sept. So, we spent a few days in Gumusluk and yesterday, there was a break in the weather / winds so we got underway for Turkbuku. (Zehra says this is Turkey's Riviera.) The ladies had visited Yalikavak, Gundogan, Turkbuku and Torba by car (Thanks Mesut!) when it was windy and decided that based on where we had to anchor to be protected from the prevailing North'ish winds and yet still have close access to town, Turkbuku looked like the best The NOAA Grib report was for a good day yesterday with a swell that would be tolerable, and for the most part, it was.

We arrived Turbuku at about 1330. Our underway was delayed because the dive boat next to me may have dropped their anchor chain over mine, and since they were SCHEDULED to get underway at 1000, I thought it would be prudent to let them go first. How stupid of me to think that in Turkey, things happen on schedule!! They depart 1035, and we leave 1040.

Before I forget, I directly witnessed the following event. While in Gumusluk, there was a loud and boisterous argument on the dock near to a French flagged sailing vessel. Within a short period of time, the Zabita (Municipal Police) were involved and after maybe 30-45 minutes, it all dies down, or so it appeared. The wind was blowing 20+ knots and there was a "black water" smell. One of the Turks accused the French of dumping their black water tank overboard and of course, they denied it. The Zabita came and decided they had and issued them a fine. The amount I do not know but I have read that one could be fined thousands of dollars if caught dumping this water into the harbor. The next morning, the French are off to their Consulate in Bodrum to get help. Meanwhile, they cannot leave. (No one is going any where in this wind but…) Two days later, the people who fixed my exhaust blower (Yatlift) are on the dock, waiting for the owner, because they have been hired to check over the sanitary system on the boat. They do, and find no problem. As they are coming off the boat, the Jardarma (Military Providence Police) show up to seize the vessel for failure to pay the fine. The Yatlift people tell them that this absolutely nothing wrong with the French boat and that they were not the source of the smell. They also stated when they get back, they will write a report and submit it to the Municipality. So, I believe the Jardarma did not seize the boat but that the next day, the French had to appear before some official in the Municipality with the report to argue that they were not guilty of the dumping. I left before I could learn more.

OK, back to Turkbuku. We left Mesut behind on the dock in Gumusluk so he could bring the car to Turkbuku. He does and we go ashore at about 1800 to meet up, do an evening walk, have dinner etc etc etc. We all hook up, and walk about. We note that some beach clubs are already closed up and boarded, their season over. It is only early September and we find this hard to believe. And yet, the locals confirm. (I guess they are happy the loud music is gone.) We find Turkbuku not at all busy, and really, quite empty. It takes us a while to find a place to eat, and after dinner, we all agree we just had a meal not worth the money we paid. Zehra comments that in today's newspaper, there are plenty of photos of celebs and famous people living it up in Turkbuku, and now realizes those pictures were not taken recently. My guess that with schools and universities opening soon, people have to get back to their homes. But still, we are amazed how empty it is.

Today, the girls went to visit and old friend and I did some minor work around LeeZe. At about 1800, come to learn that they will be back at 1900 and I am to meet them. I do, and off we go in search of a better restaurant. We go to the next town over and find a typical local eatery place. This dinner is far better than last nights and the place is jumping.

We decide to move on tomorrow.

12 Sept. We up, eat breakfast and plan to go to Torba. But first, Mesut needs to get ashore to to move the car to Torba, and I am busy getting underway preps done. So, I ask Zehra to take him ashore with the tender. Can you believe this is the first time she will be operating the tender alone? It is, and while she is nervous at first, she returns triumphantly, having realized it is not so hard to operate.

So, we get underway. The wind is under 5 knots, the sea flat, the sky blue and the temp about 26C. Arrive in Torba and anchor.

While the pilot book says that Torba has good holding, it takes some minutes for the anchor to get a "bite" and dig in. It is Thursday and if one believes the forecast, the next few days will be very windy thru Monday.

We talked with the marina manager a couple of times and at 1700, he calls to tells us that there is a space available. He also says he will provide  the lazy line from the mooring buoy to our bow. In brief, he does not. We expected to be handed it via a messenger line from the pier, and it was not. The Captain of the yacht to port lets me borrow his crew person and taking two of our 40 meter lines, we head out to the mooring buoy while others are keeping the stern of LeeZe off the rocks. We come up three meters short, but by letting our some of our mooring lines, we reach the mooring buoy, tie off, and return. Then, we take in the slack and to make a long story short, I am exhausted, Zehra is not happy ("This boating life is hard." ) and I am in the shower at 2030. We elect to connect shore power and water to tomorrow at 0900 and Zehra, Zerrin (her sister) and I all go to the nearest restaurant for dinner and decompression.

13 Sept. I am up at 0730 cleaning up from last night's mess and fiasco. At 0900, I am awaiting the connect to shore power, as agreed upon last night, and the guy shows up at 1030. No apologies. Mesut and Zehra both say this is Turkey, get use to this failure to honor one's word and commitment. We also get water and since the marina manager does not know from day to day when the owner of this slot will return, we load water and fill the battery. (Quick note on shore power. There is no 220 VAC outlet empty within 70 meters of us. There is a 308 VAC / 63 amp outlet and I do happen to have a plug for it. First time I am using it though so I plug it in, turn on the breaker, check and low and behold, there is 220 of the other side (actually 202 but at least it is not 308!). I use that plug and all is fine. (While typing this, Zehra just gave to me a kiss!! Guess she wants me to start the grill for dinner!!!)

After completing cleanup, I shower and take a nap. I sleep for two+ hours so even my batteries needed some recharging!

Just before dinner, we take a short walk toward town. Turns out that the hotel "Voyage" has taken over the beachfront for what seems like to be many kilometers.

At least they had the decency to put in a sidewalk the public can use. We walk, realize that we will not get to town and turn around.

After dinner ( remember, she kissed me to get me to start the gas grill), we are off to Bodrum. It is Friday night and the place is hopping. We walk toward the shore, note that two UK warships are in the bay, sit down at Penguins for some great ice cream, and then drag our tired butts back to the car and back to LeeZe.

14 Sept. We are up late, and after coffee and breakfast, the girls go to the market while I wash the boat. The wind is picking up so I set a "spring" line from a bollard on my starboard side to shore to minimize the effect on LeeZe. Even though I have permission from the Captain to set it where I do, the owner shows up and says I do not. So as not to argue, his Captain and I talk a few minutes and come to a reasonable compromise.

Tonight, Merih and Ismet came over for dinner and we had a great time.  (We did eat dinner (BBQ) on the aft deck but with the wind blowing, we got a chill so we came inside to finish off the evening!)

16 Sept. Yesterday, our guests left and we were once again "guest-less." We took a walk in the afternoon as the winds were expected to be 20+knots, and they did not disappoint. We came back to LeeZe to find our port stern mooring line starting to break due to rubbing against the dock. I did put chafe protection but the dock ate that also. So, I quickly grab my last remaining mooring line and make it secure to the dock. About an hour later, the line finally parts with a whimper and the other line goes taut. We shift slightly in our position with respect to the dock, but later, another Captain suggests I make the line to the mooring buoy more taut. I do and that is where we end for the evening. (We had planned to go into Bodrum but Zehra cancelled that when she saw how concerned I was with the wind blowing so hard.) The winds blow thru midnight, and then like someone turning off a light switch, they die down. Just before going to bed, I note a fishing vessel (I think) all brightly lit up some 100 meters directly off my bow, but by morning, there is nothing there. Guess I could be seeing things! ☺

This morning, I made up two new mooring lines from what remains of my purchase of bulk mooring line in 2011, and fix the broken one.

Zehra has decided to winter over in Kusadasi so that is what we are doing. We discuss our course toward there, and the stops we want to make. (I ask a friend to come along, but he just cannot break free for the entire trip.)  I then break out the paper charts to plot the route to Kusadasi, and remember back in 2012, on the East Med Yacht Rally, the rally people warned us to stay south and east of the Greek territorial waters in the vicinity of Samos island. Ok, that should not be hard, right? Great! The Turkish charts do not plot this line of demarcation (political thing) and on the web, there is a disparity over the interpretation  of the treaty that decided this boundary. So, head over the the Greek chart people and figure I use their data since that is what their Coast Guard will enforce any way. Plot that boundary and their claim makes all but a sliver of water along the coast theirs.

So, I decide to plot the boundary, claim the right of innocent passage if challenged, and follow the course I followed (in reverse though) from the 2012 rally.

If the weather holds, we are out of here tomorrow before lunch.

17 Sept. The underway was no less a fiasco than the landing. We told the "powers that be" that we wanted to depart at 0900 but the "marina" person came at 1030. According to him, his manager wanted to charge us 45 tl/day for the 5 days, even though the posted rate was about 23 TL a day. He could not explain why the difference so we "compromised at 25 per day, plus electricity and water. Then, with the help of other yacht people, we depart from the pier and retrieve the line that went to the mooring buoy from the bow (aka the "lazy" line.) In the process, we nearly drift over the lazy lines for the yacht to port, and maybe we did, but we did not cut them and all is well.

Less than 1 hour out we AGAIN have engine fuel issues. Engine dies. I get it going. It dies. Again the cycle repeats a number of times. I am rattled, and you can imagine that Zehra is NOT happy. I call the Turkish Coast Guard (TCG) and ask for an escort. While arranging that, I get the engine running at 1000 rpm (4 knots) and resume my trip to Gulluk. About 25 minutes later, TCG 11 is along side, exchange a bunch of ID stuff, and by this time, I have been running 40 continuous minutes and advise them that I believe I can safely make it to Gulluk, about 1 hour away. He says OK, but he stays with us until we get there.

One of the questions the TCG officer asks is our ages. Zehra responds that we are both 60, and she says that we are "too old" for this. I understand he laughs.

We do get to Gulluk, and we ask the TCG if there is anyplace that we cannot anchor. He says that by having declared this as an emergency, you are free to anchor anywhere. We do drop the anchor in a cove near to some working fishing boats

and I proceed to the engine room.

Now, after the last fiasco, I am really stumped. I look at my fuel water separator vacuum gauges and even after 45+ minutes, I am holding a negative vacuum. So that means, to me, that it is NOT an vacuum leak, at least not one of any significant magnitude.

I also note that the "dp" across those fuel filters is well within acceptable range, and the last time I disassembled them, they were virtually clean.

The indicators for the engine fuel water separator and the engine's fuel pump fuel water separator (I know that makes 4 on this engine) are also in an acceptable range. But, having a pair of each in spares on board, I elect to change them as they have some 400+ hours on them. (Good to 500 says the book…..) The engine mounted one comes off hard. Whoever installed it must have used a wrench (even though the instructions say to hand tighten ¾ of a turn.) and I nearly destroy it getting it off. I drain the fuel from it and it is the same color and opacity as the bad fuel I took from the generator. Huh?

The fuel pump filter, well I completely destroyed that getting it off! What I could drain from it indicated the same color fuel as in the other filter.

The fuel coming from the tank after being filtered? Bright yellow and nearly transparent. That is the fuel the engine was just burning so I cannot explain the color of the fuel in the filters I just took off. Maybe someone can. (Any takers?????)

So, fill both filters with that bright yellow fuel, install, and run the engine (at anchor) at 1650 RPM for 1 hour. It runs fine. I am dirty with diesel fuel and grime so I shower and we go ashore for dinner.

BTW, we paid 50% less here in Gulluk for a great meal that what we paid on the Bodrum Peninsula. I recommend that if one has a choice, visit Gulluk and avoid Torba. In Gulluk, there are two supermarkets (a smallish "Kipa" and a largish "Migros," numerous reasonably priced restaurants, and places to put your tender and go ashore!)

We come back, watch a dvd, and go to bed, me tossing around because tomorrow, we have a 3+ hour run to Didim.

18 Sept. Up at 0730, have coffee, and go sit in the engine room wrapping in stretch film all remaining fittings that I had not wrapped from the last engine problem. (I know that the vacuum held for at least 45 minutes, but not having full faith, trust and confidence that the problem(s)(???) were in either of the two fuel filters I changed last night, I feel I have to do something!)  Zehra gets up, and we raise anchor at ~ 0920. This time, instead of 5.5 knots, I elect to go 6+, and we are off. Dodging fish farms like they are swarms of bees, we make our way to Didim.

Every time I think I hear a noise change from the engine, my heart stops but we continue. We make it to Didim and anchor.

I need to run the engine more to regain confidence, and am thinking about redoing the fuel system using high pressure hydraulic hose, to get rid of all these fittings.

So for now, we are in Didim, making our way to Kusadasi.

19 Sept. Last night before going ashore, we discussed options. There is a fishermen's port called Ta┼čburun Limani about 12 nm up the coast from Didim. There are some islands (Dip Burun Koyu) one can anchor behind, per the cruising guide, just opposite Samos Island which is Greek. One could also cross the straits and anchor at Samos, in one of its coves, but one cannot go ashore legally without checking into Greece. Or, one could just bite the bullet and go from Didim to Kusadasi.

To ensure all options are possible, it will require me to get underway near to sunrise as approaching a port like Kusadasi at dusk is just not a prudent idea to me.

We went ashore after dinner and walk about.

I decide to have a beer and the place I picked is run by a man that use to work with Zehra in Ankara some 20-25 years ago. What a chance encounter!! (In Turkish, this would be called a "Kismet" encounter!) We all sit and talk.

Now on to today. Up at 0630, start engine, retrieve anchor, and get underway. Water is shallow and with rocks so I thread carefully thru known good water but it will be more than an hour before I am consistently in water more than 30 meters in depth. Dodge a few fishing trawlers coming back from their practice runs (their fishing season, the big boat guys, opens soon) and a few small one-man fishing boats and head up the coast. Just before Zehra gets up at about 0920, a pod a dolphins decide to join me for a 15 minute play session. Zehra gets up and is enthralled by them. I am too. Such majestic mammals! (Is their presence a good luck sign??)

We move on; they move on. I dodge yet another fish farm, this one so long I have to estimate that it is at least 2 miles long, perpendicular to the coast, which requires a huge jog just to miss it.

By this time we passed the Ta┼čburun Limani so next decision point are the islands at the Dip Burun Koyu where one turns toward Kusadasi. We peek in, but the weather is pretty good so we elect to move on.

We cross the Gulf and we see an amazing sight: This water is so calm and flat (like a bed sheet) that one thinks one has been transported to a foreign world. And, the illusion is that you are not moving.

But LeeZe is, at a respectable 5.8 knots  and we slowly close in on Kusadasi.

We approach Kusadasi and from the South and it is hard to recognize familiar land marks one sees either from land, or when one comes from the North. But we manage, and eventually we anchor on the south side of Pigeon Island, next to the fort, at about 1500.

We plan to relax tonight, lift the tender to the boat deck, and go to the marina tomorrow.
Sunsetting. This is not LeeZe in the photo, OK?

20 Sept. We are up and about a little later than normal, and after coffee and breakfast, give the marina a call on the cell phone. Seems they are OK with us having the tender behind us. My plan is to have it looked at next week so to lift it now, then drop it back in the water later just seems to be a real waste of effort. So, underway is about 1100 and of course, not all goes smoothly. By now, I should expect some hiccup, and true to form, this day does NOT disappoint. We anchored in what appears to be a very weedy bottom, so my 88 kg Rocna anchor brings up so much of this stuff that it is overwhelming the windlass. Somehow, while working on getting the anchor up, the trip line to my anchor marking buoy gets tangled in the bow thruster tunnel. No amount of coaxing can get it out. Thankfully the day is calm so we slowly motor to a spot where I cannot drift into any trouble for hours, I get into the tender and with knife in hand, proceed to the bow, and see what the problem is. From this closer vantage point, I can move the line back and forth so after taking the trip line off the anchor, I am able to pull the line out completely. Back on board, we slowly motor our way to the marina, enter, they put us stern-too a concrete wall, and so, this cruise ends.

After working on the stern lines and the lazy line, we check in, get a copy of the 7 page contract so I can read it and resolve any issues before signing, get our key cards to the ashore heads (new as of July 2013 and they are great!) and come back to LeeZe. Hooking up shore power is not an issue, but getting satellite TV is.

The marina supplies it, but when I connect the cable to the connector, no signal. The marina sends a person, who troubleshoots it for a better part of two hours, and determines something is wrong, but cannot really say if it is me or them. He calls the satellite TV technician and he shows up in 30 minutes. (Wow! When we have called any of these technicians in the past, we would wait 6-24 hours or more!) He "determines" that the problem is on LeeZe and wants to rewire the cable on board because he says it is "weak." He talks so fast, and refuses to listen to me so I tell him to start. He opens up the wall outlet so he can pull the old cable out and run the new one thru (which, IMHO, on this steel boat, will not EVER be possible since the pass thru fittings in each of the two water-tight bulkheads this cable passes thru are mechanically and thermally sealed to prevent air from coming into the engine room in case of a fire…) and he stops cold. He has nothing to say. The wire that carries the TV signal is military grade, quite expensive, and he has probably never ever seen it before. But he does recognize for what it is. (I got the cable from my Dad's electronic store and provided it to the shipyard with the instruction that they are to install a continuous piece for both shore side TV and our own satellite dish. Even the yard has never seen such cable! Thanks LnL Distributing!!) So, he proposes to install "better connectors" and I let him. After all that, he still finds the signal weak. So, off to his shop he goes to retrieve a "20 db line amplifier" (some cheap chinese junk!) and proceeds to profess that this will solve "my" problem. You can guess the next line, can't you?

Well, the cheap chinese junk solves nothing, and now he is stumped. Thankfully, the marina person is still here and he suggests that they check the signal inside the shore power pod.

Now, if you were albe to guess the last line, this next one is a absolutely a "no-brainer!!!"

He finds the signal at the box weak! Working backwards, there are 7 connectors between the main TV signal line and to the point where I have to plug in. And TV repair guy told me my connectors were weak!!! The problem was never on LeeZe, but you can never tell them that as "they always know more than you" (or so they think.)

The fix? A very high quality 2:1 splitter is installed (which I pay for!) so I can feed directly off the main line.

The result? Vindication on my part (I had told the marina that the system on LeeZe was fine, and now they admit I was right) and now we have shore-side satellite TV.

This ends this cruising adventure. To be honest, we are both a little beat and drained from this nearly two month trip. We are looking to recharge ourselves, and get really to host family for the upcoming 9 day holiday period.

I think this trip would have been less stressful on me if I did not have the engine fuel issues. Seems they may have all been self-inflicted, but one is taught in the Navy to believe your indications until such time they are proven false. These last two filters I replaced, well their indicators said they were fine and the engine manual "suggests" replacement every 500 hours (LeeZe has about 435 hours on her engine). But I did replace them, and than ran for 3 trips for a total of 14 hours with hardly a hiccup.

The mooring fiasco at Torba left a very bad taste in our collective mouths and my suggestion to any one that comes toward this neck of the woods is to bypass Torba completely (and go to Gulluk). The anchorage is uncomfortable in any prevailing summer wind, and the marina staff are genuinely un-cooperative, and unfriendly to guests and really do not want to be bothered. Somebody I ran into later told me that the "Turkish Mafia" runs Torba. I do not know if I believe that but for sure, they do not warmly welcome boat visitors.

The winds around the Bodrum Peninsula really made it difficult to enjoy Bodrum. We were lucky and fortunate to get a 4 day stay in the city marina, so that was a plus. IF we ever do this peninsula again, we need to do it when the prevailing winds are near to zero speed.

The Orhaniye Gulf is worth doing again in a few years, although we have met people who swear by it and do it every year.

I think that about sums up the adventure.

Here are some screen Shots from Google Earth of the places mentioned in this writeup.

We had some challenges along the way, we had some great times also.

Comments or questions?

Lee (and Zehra)
MV LeeZe